The theme for the Third BRICS Urbanisation Forum, held in Visakhapatnam, Andra Pradesh, India was ‘Urban Transition in BRICS’. ICLEI Africa was invited to represent ICLEI’s BRICS members (which included members from the South American, South Asian, East Asian and African secretariats) in a plenary session focused on urban sustainability implementation. The session focused on lessons learnt against the backdrop of the Paris Agreement, the SDGs and urbanisation in general.
Following snapshots of current urban sustainability projects within the aforementioned ICLEI secretariats, a collective position on lessons learnt from our BRICS members was presented by way of summary. This included the following key points:
- Crisis vs unifying factor – shift terminology away from problems and crises, towards a common rallying point
- Creative partnerships – co-production, complement rather than compete, collaborate around innovation spaces, recognise that project partners need to consider the legacy after they are no longer part of the project
- Knowledge driven solutions – at the local level, technological interventions are unlikely to succeed in the absence of local knowledge
- Not only will but vision – political will is an imperative, but political vision is the ‘x factor’
- Build on existing foundations – don’t reinvent the wheel, capitalise on existing momentum in project implementation
- Local, local, local – subnational governments and cities are emerging as the key role-players in addressing the challenges presented by urban sustainability within BRICS
ICLEI was part of a strong South African delegation at the conference, which included Department of COGTA, the Department of Housing, the private sector and the SA Cities Network. The central government of India, Andra Pradesh and the city of Visakhapatnam are to be congratulated on a successful and fruitful urbanisation forum which will feed through many important urbanisation factors into the main BRICS forum to be held in Goa in October 2016.
More information here.